Orono baseball moves forward after rocky start

Orono’s Dan Murley winds up during a game. The Spartans started their season 3-4. (Submitted photo)

Orono High School Baseball is off to a start of 3-4. Orono started the season winning two and then dropping four.

The Spartans beat Edison High School 11-2 to get back to their winning ways.

“Our schedule is really tough and playing ranked teams week in and week out will prepare us for our tough section tournament,” Head coach Bucky Mieras said.

Highlights for the season so far have been the bat of Alec Porter as he leads the team with a .426 average and Nick Anderson hitting a 310 clip. Porter and Caleb Olson lead the team in RBIs with seven and six respectively. Anderson and Tommy Deters lead the team in runs scored with six each.

“We have looked at a few combinations with our batting order and are trying to move some guys around to get them the best options to be successful. We have seen some of the best arms we will see all season and these matchups only make us better,” Mieras said. “Saturday was a great indication when our guys are aggressive we can hit with anyone.”

On defense and pitching, things continue to get better. The Spartans are in a new situation with pitch count limits this year and many teams are taking a ton of pitches.

“We need to continue to work hard to get up in the count and make the defense play for us,” Mieras said. “Sometimes we endure long at bats and that does not help us on defense.”

Dan Murley and Billy Lynch have done a great job in their outings with pitch counts and throwing strikes. Orono has also had super performances from Zach Reed, Charlie Apple, Jimmy Buck and Tommy Deters on the mound.

“Our pitching and defense at times is not up the standard we want them to be. However, we see the improvement and the competitive fire they have,” Mieras said. “We have put it together at the same time and it is fun to watch. We are battling hard and the players are great supporting one another.”

Defensively Orono is led with junior catcher TJ Carlson, middle infielders Zach Reed, Callum Yockey and Jimmy Buck.

“These guys give us a great middle of the field to defend for our team,” Mieras said. “They are strong and athletic and their work ethic will solidify our defense for the season.”

Coach Mieras said the team lost some great seniors last year, but feels this team is coming together to be a better team and we have the chance to make a great run in the tournament.

The weather has also played a role in the rocky start to the season. However, with the addition of the new batting cages and other field upgrades the players are really beginning to utilize these extra perks to get better as a team.

Vs. Holy Family
Offensively Orono had great performances from Callum Yockey, Alec Porter, Nick Anderson, and Billy Lynch. Orono had 11 hits with Yockey collecting three hits, Anderson and Porter two hits, and Tommy Deters, Caleb Olson, Billy Lynch, and Zach Reed all collected hits as well.

“We had our highest quality at bats for the games we have played and saw the some of the best pitching we have seen all season,” Mieras said.

Dan Murley was the starting pitcher and had a good outing.

“We know Dan gives us a great effort every time he pitches,” Mieras said. “That is what we love about him and he brings his best every day he plays or practices. He is a great leader by example.”

Billy Lynch, Zach Reed, and Charlie Kinsel threw relief.

Charlie Kinsel came in to close the game on the mound.

“He was put in a tough situation and really responded well, Mieras said. “As hard as the loss is for the team, it was nice for Charlie.”

In the end, Orono lost 12-9, after giving up six runs in the top of the seventh inning.

“This is a huge step forward for us and we will continue to grow and get better from this,” Mieras said. “This is one of those games that turn the season around if the right information is learned and put to use.”